Tag Archives: therapy

Get Down With Yo Bad Self ~ My Therapist’s Prescription

Michelle At Play came about at a time when I was all out of . I was woefully low on dreams. Life was so hard I couldn’t see the magic if a rabbit popped out of the tophat in front of me.

I was worn out, washed up and began every day just as tired as I’d ended the one before.

A year at a Buddhist monastery wasn’t on the radar and so I limped through my own version of reparative therapy. It involved actual therapy along with plenty of exercise, prescription medication and an aversion to doing anything I didn’t want to do.

That part was actually an ongoing assignment from the therapist I was seeing at the time. “Don’t do anything you don’t want to do,” she told me. I think I looked at her as if she’d grown horns on the spot or started speaking Vulcan or something.

“What’s that you say,” I asked? “Don’t do anything I don’t want to do?”

Happy Girls WMShe patiently explained that some basics like brushing my teeth and general care of my children might be required, but beyond that, nothing.

I practically had an anxiety attack on the spot.

This, my friends, is why I preach what I preach. Playing through life does not come naturally to me and perhaps it’s the reason I feel so strongly about it. Maybe it’s why I know exactly how important play is, because I forget to do it. To this day.

I hope that play and joy and a natural belief in magic is your strong suit. I hope that today you don’t just preach happiness but that you live it. And if it doesn’t come easily to you, as it doesn’t for me, I hope you declare today a play day and even if it’s just in one, tiny, little way, you allow your inner child out to romp for a bit.

You won’t regret it. I know I won’t.

Let the wild rumpus start!

Like, share, comment, tweet and put on your tiara and have a dance party with yo’ bad self.

This Is Not A Blog Post ~ It Is A Call To Action

This is not a blog post, it is a call to excellence. It is not my stories, it is an opportunity to write a better story for yourself. This is not a blog post, it is a magic carpet ride, a recipe for juicy living, it’s a call to action.

And I am calling you.

Every month we start a new, 12-week Dream Building course. Attendees come from all over north America, joining in virtually. We absorb our worthiness and we take the next steps, the baby steps that ultimately get us to the top of the mountain. Steps that help you reach your own persnal goals in a very methodical way.

This is your call to make your life excellent. If it’s hard to get out of bed in the morning, if one day looks suspiciously similar to the day before, join us for our March class and feel almost instant relief.

Revolutionize your life by taking surprisingly simple steps with Michelle At Play. Money back guarantee, Moonstruck Chocolate is our official mascot, Play is our official pastime.

Call or text directly with Michelle at: 503-957-0821, email michelleatplay@gmail.com or comment below.

This is not a blog post, it is your wake up call. Hello? Hello! Are you ready to arise and embrace the day?

(Not sure what you’re ready for? Message me for a 30 minute Discovery session, a $297 value, free to you, just because you’re reading me.)

A Play Date For Everyone

Yesterday I was released from a virtual prison. Okay, even I can tell I’m being melodramatic. We were quasi-snowed in for 4 1/2 days. ImageSo… what with the internet, painting and a comfy bed and healthy snacks as well as the Olympics available at any given moment… Yeah, calling my 4 1/2 days at home “jail” might be an overstatement. 

But it was quite a relief when I finally did spring myself from the YFR&ZAR. I drove tenuously down a driveway deeply covered in snow, I slowly traversed the one hundred feet of treacherous lane that leads to the highway… and voila’! the roads were clear and I was free at last, free at last.

What did I do, you ask? I went to my favorite little niche grocery store, had some lunch, did some work, ran some errands and returned home. Where’s the glamour you say? I’m a ranch wife, folks. We don’t really ‘do’ glamour. Yes, this also is an exaggeration. 

But glamour isn’t the point anyway. Let me tell you what is.

After Mr Dreamboat got back from the hoosegow, I decided to take a little trip myself. I went crazy. It wasn’t the first trip I’d taken by myself, but it was my least favorite for sure. Since I wasn’t enjoying my vacation from planet earth, I did what I could to return from the land of Odd, and one of those things included therapy.

I contend that everyone needs therapy. Especially those people who insist that they do not. I can still remember one of my first assignments from my therapist. Probably because it was my favorite. She said, for the whole week ahead of you, don’t do anything you don’t want to do.

I was flummoxed. How does a wife and mother get away with such scandalous behavior? What about the dust bunnies? There are ALWAYS dust bunnies to be dealt with.

She brushed off my concerns, saying if the dust bunnies became an overwhelming burden, then it was time to deal with them. But if I didn’t want to make dinner, I shouldn’t make dinner. If I didn’t want to go out, I shouldn’t go out. I was supposed to listen to my internal desires and respond lovingly to them.

I was giddy! It is not in my personality to do that sort of thing. So as an assignment? From a professional? WooHoooooooo!

And it wasn’t as easy as you’d think. As a matter of fact, week after week I was given the same assignment and I never really did master it. I’m pretty good at stuff. I maybe learn things slower than some people, but once I get my head wrapped around a new skill, I’m unstoppable. But this one remains a challenge. You’d be surprised.

Yesterday when I went out, the primary goal may have been to replenish the household supply of Nutella, sure. But the secondary goal was to take myself out on a date, to spend the afternoon doing nothing but what I wanted to do. And it worked. Nailed it!

If you’re like me, and I like to believe to some degree you are, this might seem a little silly, a little self indulgent, a smidge ridiculous. And you’d be wrong. Taking the time to listen to yourself, take time alone and do exactly what you want to do is really quite necessary. If you think about it, how can you really know someone else if you never get to know yourself?

A minimum of once a week. This is what I’m telling you has your Play Therapist. MINIMUM. You’ll be surprised at how much more you get done. You’ll be delighted to see how much happier you are when you’re doing the obligatory things. You’ll be thrilled to see how much happier you are to grant other people’s wishes, when your own are being afforded.

Take a play date. Go on. Release yourself from your mental prison. Doctor’s orders.

Depression: A Conniving Beast From Hell

Depression is a conniving beast from hell. The normal, survival, something-is-amiss-in-my-life-kind, is just a tool. But the other kind, the kind that doesn’t respond to a shift in your view, a girl’s night out and a new pair of shoes? That kind is as mean as a rattle snake and twice as lethal.

I used to believe that with enough ‘gumption’ and a sunny day, one could metaphorically pull up one’s boot straps and meet the demon head on. But life had kicked me in the teeth, stomped on my brain and had me yelling uncle. When my creative little brain visualized a suicide scene from the book The Hours, I stopped believing that I could handle the problem on my own and went to a doctor for a little pharmaceutical TLC and a healthy dose of therapy.

It was a humbling experience. I have an aversion to medications and help, both of which I needed.

What I remember most vividly from that time of depression was my wrong thinking. It seemed so real. I remember believing that the joys of my life were all behind me, that all that was left to me was to get old and die. I mean I TRULY believed this. I was 39 years old.

I realized my thinking was off when I had to convince myself that July, the month Aaron was coming home, was actually going to come again that year. I had to literally walk myself through the steps of, “It came last year, and all the years before, that means it will come this year too.” My thinking was so off that it was like needing to convince yourself that the sun will indeed rise again tomorrow.

I am grateful for that time. I think I can understand people who suffer from these brain imbalances much more fully because I’ve been through my own. I am grateful that I had people around me that I trusted and when they told me I wasn’t thinking right, I could believe them.

While depression is an evil beast from hell, it is not an invincible beast. With a little help from our friends, and sometimes from a few professionals, we can vanquish it. The sun will rise again. And every year when July rolls around again, I smile and feel a deep gratitude for it.


The Cheeseball Conundrum

Yesterday I wondered at myself as I bought a Bucket-O-Cheeseballs. Ironically, I have always been interested and actively pursued healthy eating. It’s actually one of those things my children will need therapy for. I imagine a conversation might go something like this:

“Doctor Brainwell, my mother didn’t bake cookies for us as kids. I feel bitter at her.”

“Well, perhaps she didn’t bake cookies on a regular basis, but I’m sure she loved you by providing sugary cereals for breakfast.”

“No. She did not. I know my mother doesn’t love me because there were not freshly baked cookies on a regular basis and we didn’t have sugary cereals for breakfast, AND she made healthy meals for dinner. I did not like them. Honestly, Doctor Brainwell, I don’t know that I can get over this.”

“I can see why. That is an ugly truth. I feel your pain.”

So yesterday when I was at Target, and I hadn’t yet eaten a meal, I felt the sting of betraying my children as I bought the Cheeseballs knowing it’s a kiddy food. Knowing it is not something they were allowed to eat as children.  Not only that, but I can’t figure out why I’ve been eating Cheeseballs lately. Hello-o. It’s not even real food. It’s probably processed out of the same glop they make all fast food from.

And then I thought about Zoe’s vlog. It’s all about self-prescribed “ therapy”, or the things we do to comfort ourselves. Lately, oddly, I’ve chosen Cheeseballs. I don’t recommend it. I’m going to discontinue it (I didn’t feel well yesterday and all I ate was Cheesballs and chocolate… not recommended), but I’ll get over it.

We all have coping mechanisms. I think the trick is to choose something that will actually help us feel better, not worse.


Dear Blog Land:

I know it’s early in our relationship, but I just need to say it: I love you. I hope this doesn’t scare you. It’s just that you fulfill in me, things that nothing else ever has. Sure there was therapy, but sometimes I would Imagelook over at Dr. Brain-Well, and think, “I’m not sure you’ve got what it takes to meet my needs. It’s not me. It’s you.” Also, I have to admit that I was paying Dr. B. I feel so ashamed.

But you, Blog Land, well, you just seem to get me. Remember the time I had my feelings hurt because mean people were mean to me? Not only did you patiently listen, but you responded (thanks, dear readers) with support and understanding. You were like, “Mean people suck!” Okay, my words, not yours, but I read between the lines.

It’s not just that you’re a great listener and a huge support, but it’s like we have the same interests. I want a little political fix, you’re on it with whatever flavor I may be craving. Sardonic? Check. Liberal? In spades! Religious? You bet! Whatever I want, you’ve got it.

But do you know what I love best about you? It’s your family. Yes, Blog Land, your family is A-W-E-S-O-ImageM-E! And such a big family too! With artists and grandmothers, crazy aunts, young rebels and pithy writers, if everyone got together for the holidays (we’d include Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanza and Festivus), it would be the roudiest, most opinionated and colorful celebration ever. Count me in! And count in any visitors dropping by. You, Blog Land, are inclusive of all.

So I’ve laid it out on the table with the L word and all, and I’m going to dig myself in even further by asking you to take me as I am. You see, I’m feeling a little vulnerable in our new found relationship. As I was perusing over our time together, I recognized a theme in my writing. Sure, it’s why you’re so good at being my therapist, because you let me throw it all out there through my fingertips, but I hadn’t realized until my feelings became so strong for you, just how much I’ve revealed of myself.

You’re just so easy to be with. All I’m asking is that you accept me, warts and all. All my weird neuroses, my funky view of the world, my wild dreams, even my aversion to declaring my political views and religious leanings.  It’s an “as is” deal with me.

But please, don’t rush to a decision. Take all the time you need. I know I’ve just dumped this out there and I would never ask you to make a snap declaration just because I have. But I’m just telling you, I think we could be great together. I’m seeing a real future for us.

Blog Land, I love you. I love you. I love you! (Jumping on the allegorical Oprah Couch).Image

With all my heart,


Ten Things I’m Glad I Did

One of my readers (Thanks, theofman) benevolently did not judge me on my “10 Things I Wish I had Not Done.” He also pointed out that in order to be fully absolved, I should share the things I’m happy that I did do. I’m a sucker to please people, and besides, it’s a good idea. So without further ado:

  1. I am thrilled to have married “too soon”, and “too young” and to have the greatest husband on planet earth who has taken me on one, long wild ride for over 25 years.
  2. I’m so glad my niece gave me “The Artist’s Way” and that I read it, lived it and loved it! It truly changed my life.Image
  3. Therapy was a brilliant move. From marriage counseling to post jail stress, it’s all been a very sound investment.
  4. I’m so glad I went to college. I had great experiences, met lifelong friends (shout outs to Lisa, Holly, Teddi, Melissa, Bill and many more), plus I met aforementioned “Dream Boat”. Winning!
  5. It feels too obvious to say, but all of my children were excellent choices. I created four (with help) and one was sent to me via “God’s Ways”. Talk about a wild ride! Look, Mom! No hands!
  6. I’m so happy that I got all “crazy” during jail and became “Super Jail Wife”. That time was so hard for everyone, and I couldn’t fix it, but I could make it better. At the end of it was a terrible crash and burn, but it was the right time to crash and burn. There are seasons of imbalance, and they must be respected too.
  7. I’m so happy I chose to follow wise counsel and start blogging. It’s a really wonderful medium and brings me a great deal of joy to write every single day and have a unique interaction with people. It makes me feel connected.
  8. I’m glad I studied Spanish in Mexico and Guatemala. It was scary to plan the trips and head off by myself and live in a stranger’s home, but one learns SO MUCH traveling alone! Well done, Michelle;)
  9. One piece of advice from “The Artist’s Way” is that often the difference between a successful artist and one that goes nowhere, is audacity. I’ve certainly been practicing it (You know, when you feel like the least accomplished person in the room and yet you still present yourself as an “artist” a “writer” a “skier” or whatever.) I’ve never regretted saying that I’m an artist, even when it’s soooooo painful to do it. The results have been magical.
  10. Every time I do something scary. Even if I fall flat on my face. Each time I do it I feel more and more powerful.